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No Other Love - Part 8
A Writer Gal Novella
I am writing this edition of The Writer Gal Letter listening to JVLA’s super smutty song Such a Wh0re! :P Sorry, but its all the rage on Tiktok and I’m having the best time being on it and telling cute little stories on it about my books on it! :D (Even, psst… ones I am yet to write)… This edition is also coming to you from Past Aarti cuz currently you'll find me knee deep in boxes sorting things I didn’t know we possessed.
We are ragingly in the middle of the move so I am exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. And do you know what happens when people live in a house? SO. Much. STUFF. is what happens. Now double the stuff and you get the idea of what I’m dealing with in the move! I’ll be happy to scarf down some wine and stay awake till midnight for this new year’s if I can…
Speaking of the holidays, MERRY HAPPY Christmas to you, Postmate. But if this holiday season is hard for you, know that I understand. The last three months have personally been so hard for me emotionally that sometimes I don’t want to celebrate anything. So if that is you, hugs. I see you.
But today as I write this, I’m warm and full of good cheer on all the love you always shower on me with your replies, your reviews, your likes and comments, your email opens, and just knowing you’re subscribed to TWGL! Thank you. :)
(Pic of a Christmas tree at a cafe I visited recently!)
In the same spirit, I’d like to invite anyone who does not want to hear from Aarti V Raman and The Writer Gal Letter to unsubscribe. I understand information overload is at its peak at the moment and we don’t need extra things in our lives and inboxes.
Now, let’s get on with the bookish updates of this edition.
No Other Love - Chapter 8
Now, without any more fuss, let me share the next chapter of my sweetly angsty, second chance, marriage in trouble, small-town romance novella starring a desperately nerdy doctor and his feisty surgeon wife!
Author’s Note: I’ll be writing down the English translations of the Indian words to this story, as I introduce you to Indian culture :) If you’d like to read the previous chapter, click here.
Fun fact: This novella is actually set in a town founded by one of my oldest friends. I’ve been fascinated with Aronda since I heard her talk about it back when we studied together and wanted to set a story here forever! Vikrant and Anika’s is the one finally. :D
After that charged moment, it was a little anticlimactic to climb into the big bed wearing her ex’s tee shirt which smelled of him – a unique combination of detergent and Vikrant’s own musk.
And Anika was sure that she’d be wide awake, unable to sleep with Vikrant only feet away for the first time in months.
She dropped off like a stone the second her head touched the pillow.
And she dreamed.
Of the night they’d fought so horrendously badly, their marriage, their epic love story had come to a screeching halt.
She was exhausted after finishing a double shift at the hospital and cramming for her MD exam. Her nerves were frayed to within an inch and she was considering talking to a mental health professional about the workload she was under.
“Honey, I’m home,” she called out, as she keyed the lock open.
The soft strains of a Neighborhood song could be heard drifting through the sound bar Vikrant had gifted her on her birthday, two months ago. They’d used it to make love to one of her favourite songs – Ed Sheeran’s Bad Habits.
Anika frowned. That couldn’t be the last time they’d been together. Could they?
“Vik,” she said softly. Knowing he wouldn’t hear her. The music was loud. “Are you there?”
Taking a bold decision, Anika turned around to check the lock was secure on the door. Yep, all locked in.
She smiled softly. Love suffusing her desire with a depth that hadn’t been present since she’d started preparing for her MD exam. Tonight, she was going to tell Vikrant maybe she’d take a break and prepare for longer, when money wasn’t so tight and they were in a better place together…
Anika dropped her bag on the floor. Then she took the hem of her simple cotton tunic, the lacy kurti, and tugged it off her head. It snagged on the haphazard bun she’d put her hair up in. She shook her head and the tunic cleared her skull. Her hair came down in a waterfall on her shoulders and back.
She toed off her functional sneakers with the hidden heels and walked into the hall. One hand on her jeans, unbuttoning them.
“Hey…” she began provocatively, her eyes searching for her brilliant, sexy man. Desire flooded her veins, making her weak and wet and needy before he’d even touched her. Even seen her.
Vikrant was sprawled on the couch, staring blankly at the ceiling. He didn’t hear her.
“Vikrant,” she said a little louder.
His eyes snapped to her. They widened when they saw her half-naked in the doorway.
“Hey, stranger.” Anika stuck out her hip, increasing the length of her leg with the pose. “Miss me?”
“What are you doing, Anika?” Vikrant swung his legs to the floor. “What is this?”
“What does it look like I’m doing, dummy?” She unbuttoned the jeans and drew the zipper down but didn’t step out of them yet. “I’m seducing you.” She winked. “You have to get seduced now.”
“Anika…” He trailed off as she came to settle on his lap.
Straddling his waist, her legs on either side of his thighs. “Vikrant…” She whispered. “I need you.” She hoped he could see she didn’t mean just for this, their physical connection. She needed him to affirm his love for her.
“Ani, please,” he began hoarsely. But his dark eyes burned. As his breath hitched, his fingers clutched her hips, fingers digging into her tender flesh. A welcome pain.
“Yes.” Anika bent down and kissed his ear before biting the lobe. “Please, fuck me.” Then, I will tell you I need you more than I need to do my damn MD this year.
His fingers contracted against her butt for a long, pleasurable moment. Then he firmly took her waist and set her down next to him.
“We have to talk,” Vikrant began brusquely.
“Sure.” She was so ready for them to talk. “After.” She tried to reach for him eagerly.
“Vikrant,” she began hesitantly.
“I haven’t seen you in a week, do you know that?” he began quietly, not looking at her.
Her heart sank. She could hear the accusation even if he’d not said anything damaging yet. “I know…”
“You’ve become a machine, Anika,” Vikrant cut her off, in the same brusque tone. “All you want to do is study for your precious exam and the hospital. Then, you want to fuck me when you surface.”
Anika recoiled at the bitterness in him. “I’m sorry,” she said stiltedly.
He gave her a despairing look. His heart was broken. Written all over his face.
Her own heart started gasping as if she was experiencing a myocardial infarction. Stuttering and slipping.
“You’re not. You just want to fuck me right now,” he said bluntly. “Go to sleep. Wake up and go to the hospital and do this all over again. You don’t want to deal with anything.”
“What’s there to deal with?” she asked, bewildered.
“Do you even know what’s going on with me? My family? My father’s pension from the school has been withdrawn because of fund shortage and they don’t know what to do now. They have no money.”
Anika bit her lip. “I’m..sorry,” she offered inadequately. “That’s terrible news. I’m so sorry, Vikrant.” She touched his rigid arm and it went even harder at her touch. As if he was rejecting it.
“You’re not,” he said harshly. “You don’t fucking care,” he repeated as if he wasn’t her husband at all. The planes of his shoulders tightened in the tee shirt she’d washed for him just a few days ago. His height made it seem like he was so far away from her.
“You don’t care about me or us or anything that isn’t part of your precious goals.”
Something snapped in her then. Something fragile and hopeful. She remembered what her father had told her, years ago when she’d first told him she was in love with Vikrant.
This boy will never understand your goals. Your need to fulfil them. He’s too ordinary for you, Anika.
“And all you care about is your fucking family and yourself, don’t you?” Anika snapped back. The echo of her father’s words swirling in her head. “Just because you don’t want to get your MD tag you punish me for wanting mine.”
He straightened, gave her a cool look. “What. Did. You. Just. Say?” He spaced each word out.
Anika blinked back useless, weak tears from her eyes. Her throat working itself rapidly to not weep in front of this cold, unfeeling, judgmental man.
“I’m killing myself trying to get through this exam and work without losing my mind, when most people take a whole year off to study for it. But we can’t afford to lose my income for that long, can we?”
His head snapped back, as if she’d slapped him.
They made decent money between them, enough to pay rent, save a little for a really rainy day and he sent more than a quarter of his money back home to his parents. But yes, Mumbai being what the most expensive city in South Asia, they couldn’t afford for her to not work for a whole year.
Anika felt her chest tighten. The words hung in the air between them. Cancerous. Leaching all the love they’d ever had. Killing it from the inside out.
“I’m sorry, then,” he said evenly. “I’m sorry for standing in the way of your dreams. Your fucking goals. I’m sorry, Anika, that my family and my problems are obstacles for you.”
One tear slipped out unbidden down her cheek. Because she knew he wasn’t sorry. He wanted to be right. He wanted her to pay. He wanted her to back down because his needs were more important than hers. They were more immediate and involved his helpless parents. And he was a dutiful son to them more than he’d ever want to be her husband, her champion.
“Yes.” She thumbed the culprit tear away. “You are. Just like my father.” Willing him to refute her words. Make her take them back.
He said nothing. He didn’t even look at her.
That was the first of many times, Vikrant walked away from her. First into the next room, then to the family lawyer’s office…and then right out of her life.
They’d never recovered from the accusations they’d hurled at each other. The bitter venom behind them.
They’d gone to the divorce lawyer two weeks later, on the first mutually free day they had.
And there Vikrant had announced his intention to return back to Aronda and run the town hospital, a position that came with a significant pay bump, house, and other amenities. He’d bludgeoned her with his decision.
She couldn’t believe he’d actually just abandon her like that. Or, worse, expect her to move states just to take care of his folks while her own career was just taking off.
And, to be fair, he hadn’t asked her to move.
The counsellor had asked them both to consider what it was they wanted and they’d said opposite things. She’d wanted to finish her MD and continue living in Mumbai, he’d wanted to move somewhere else and start again.
That was when Anika knew, deep in her heart, love wasn’t enough to surmount the mountain of obstacles facing them. Their opposite personalities had finished destroyed their relationship.
So, it had broken her heart when he’d actually packed his things and left. Just like that.
As if almost a decade of loving someone could vanish in a moment.
Tonight, when she dreamed of it all, she cried a little. Like she did each time when she dreamed of it all. And she whispered his name in a broken voice.
No Other Love will return next month…
Shades of Love is SO CLOSE to releasing
Shades of Love is my first official release for 2023, because it has a firm release date - February 7, 2023. I am so hecking proud of this collection because it highlights diverse romance, which is what I always write :)
Here is a handy list of things that go hand in hand with ordering Shades of Love for just 99c, available at every single retailer.
First, grab the free collection Shades of Seduction by clicking on this link.
Once you’ve ordered SOL, hit us up by filling out this form and avail the seven free ebooks you’ll be entitled. Plus, SO MANY other goodies!
My own story in Shades of Love is going to be a continuation of Drake and Anya, my OG Ruthless Billionaire, and his feisty wife. It’s called Vows. I want to write them a sickeningly sweet and smutty happy ever after, mostly because I want to read something that’s life-affirming and hopeful and so hot.
You can read Mine (which is in Shades of Seduction), then go on to finish Claim on Kindle Unlimited, and then get the bonus scene for Drake and Anya while you wait for Vows to release in Shades of Love. And, while you’re at it, read Nihaal and Mili’s explosive twisty story too in case you’ve not finished Burn and Blaze yet. :)
Hundreds of F. R. E. E books… all for you!
By now you know the drill, Postmate. You know today’s the day you get your eager hands on ALL the books from all the authors. So, without further ado, click on the hot pink button. And get all the books! I don’t have a book free at this time because we just had the Thanksgiving Blowout Extravaganza last month and I’m stretched thin with the move but there are so many amazing books for you to enjoy from all dear authors!
Check them out by clicking the shiny pink button.
This year…I’ll talk about the magic of this year in a later newsletter from my NEW HOME in the new year but I just want to wish you and yours the Happiest of New Years, a chance to wipe the slate clean, to begin again, and be the person you always want to be. I know I am.
Till then, stay safe and awesome.